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Session launches Creator Credits, backed by UMG and Avid

Session, the Swedish music start-up co-founded by Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus and songwriters Max Martin and Niclas Molinder, has launched Creator Credits, an initiative that aims to help music creators be correctly credited for their work.

Creator Credits – described as “the world’s first end-to-end ecosystem for creator credits, in collaboration with leading music industry players” – enables music creators (songwriters, producers, musicians, artists) assign credits in the studio at the point of creation and automatically supply those credits ‘downstream’ to managers, record labels, publishers, performing rights organisations (such as partner society PRS), distributors and streaming platforms.

Session’s initial collaborators include MXM Music, the production and publishing company of hitmaker Max Martin, who has written 22 number-one hits; Universal Music Group (UMG); and Avid, which will embed Session’s technology into its industry standard Pro Tools recording software.

Session – formerly Auddly – announced the launch at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Texas on Friday.

“We are super-excited to announce this project and our collaboration,” says Session CEO Molinder. “I’m convinced that the best way to involve the creators in the data collection is as early as possible in the creation process. Session’s technology performs a short handshake with music society systems to authenticate creators and associate their vital industry identifiers with their account.

“When a creator walks into a Pro Tools powered studio their presence will be automatically detected and their identifiers, along with their typical contributions, can be easily added to a song.”

Barak Moffitt, executive vice-president of content strategy and operations at Universal Music, adds: “UMG is proud to work with Session’s team to make the process of assigning credits even easier and to ensure that the important work of contributors to songs and recordings are widely available.

“All contributors to a piece of music or any audio work should be clearly identified, recognised and rewarded appropriately”

“In addition to our own efforts, we have been working closely with Björn and Niclas for a couple years on the development of this platform as part of our commitment to a robust and effective crediting system for the benefit of the entire music ecosystem.”

With Session’s platform, the creator credit metadata travels with the song in the music industry standard DDEX RIN format as it is delivered to record labels and publishers. The creator credits package accompanies the audio and includes crucial industry identifiers for songwriters (IPI) and performing artists (IPN), as well as the emerging ISNI identifier, believed to be key to closing the ‘value gap’ between creators and digital platforms exploiting their work.

Finally, this creator identification information, along with their contributions to the recording and song, are assembled with the ISRC (recording identifier) and ISWC (composition identifier).

Once the song is then distributed to a streaming service, fans will have the opportunity to access more information about songs, while streaming platforms will enable consumers to follow their favourite songwriters, performers and producers.

“With Pro Tools software at the core of many of today’s music production environments around the world, the Avid team shares in the vision that all contributors to a piece of music or any audio work should be clearly identified, recognised and rewarded appropriately throughout the production and distribution process,” says Francois Quereuil, director of audio product management at Avid.

“We are particularly excited to enter a technology collaboration with Session and work with key players in the music industry to provide a durable solution to the challenges associated with capturing and recognising creators’ credits in an increasingly complex digital world.”


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Closing the data gap: YouTube adopts ISNI IDs for creators

The International Music Managers Forum (IMMF) has welcomed news YouTube is to assign an ISNI ID to all creators, including artists and songwriters, whose work is used on the video platform, saying the move “could be a significant step towards closing music’s data gap”.

Google-owned YouTube yesterday became the first registration agency for the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), an ISO-certified standard used for uniquely identifying the public identities of contributors to creative works, including recording artists, songwriters, composers and publishers. By using a 16-digit ISNI number, rather than names, to identify creators, music and media distribution platforms can accurately determine which people were involved in creating any one piece of content (while there is only one Prince Rogers Nelson, for example, the myriad John Smiths would otherwise have more trouble getting paid).

Google-owned YouTube is the world’s largest video-hosting platform and the web’s second most popular site (after Google). It is also by far the most popular site for on-demand music streaming, although it is remains controversial for the royalties it pays, with the so-called ‘value gap’ – or the mismatch between the value YouTube extracts from music and the revenue given back to creators – regularly coming in for criticism from the recorded music industry.

“Authors of music are often also performers, and performers who make recordings also play live, take photographs, and many write books, appear in films, etc., etc. They need a single ID for all their activity, or for sector IDs to link together to a single point,” says IMMF, who discussed the issue at recent conferences including Tallinn Music Week and Eurosonic Noorderslag, in a statement.

“We view this as a transformative opportunity to offer the music industry a valuable identifier scheme”

YouTube, the association says, will now “drive adoption of ISNI from the B2C [business to consumer] end of the supply chain”, although it adds the music industry’s reaction to the news should be “less about YouTube and more about ISNI and solutions to music’s data gap”.

“By adopting ISNI, artists, songwriters and other creators will be unambiguously identified, enabling better visibility and tracking on YouTube,” says YouTube technical program manager FX Nuttall. “Bringing the ISNI open standard to music opens the door to more accurate credit for creators, discovery for fans and transparency for the industry.”

“We’re delighted to partner with YouTube on such an ambitious effort”, adds Tim Devenport, executive director of ISNI International Agency. “Many organisations active in the music sector have already shown interest in using ISNI identifiers as part of the infrastructure they need to manage rights and royalties effectively. Working closely with YouTube, ISNI is very pleased to contribute its experience and skillsets to these critical objectives.

“We view this as a transformative opportunity to offer the music industry a valuable identifier scheme and, in so doing, to deepen ISNI’s knowledge of this domain and improve its technical facilities and approaches.”


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